Vol. 5 Num 1005 Thu. March 29, 2007  
Front Page

Bird flu continues to spread
Official preventive strategy yet to be followed in Jamalpur, Tangail

In two poultry farms at Morelganj in Bagherhat yesterday 592 chickens died, which had been bought from Biman Poultry Hatchery in Savar, where the first case of Bird Flu had been detected, sources said.

The district livestock officials sent samples of the chickens to Bangladesh Livestock Research Institute (BLRI) but a report is yet to arrive.

Livestock department officials are carrying out surveillance in all affected districts but did not take any measure to cull free range chickens in Jamalpur and Tangail within a kilometre radius of the infected farms there, which is supposed to be the official strategy for preventing spread of the virus.

Our correspondent from Khulna reported that 592 chickens of two poultry farms under Morelganj upazila in Bagherhat died so far after being infected with Avian Influenza Virus.

District Livestock Officer (DLO) Dr Rustam Khan said the chickens were brought to the farms on February 25 from Biman Poultry Farm in Savar near the capital where first case of Avian Influenza had been detected.

Sources working with the livestock department said 492 of the dead chickens were in a poultry farm owned by Nasir Mollah of Sarolia village and 100 chickens were in a poultry farm owned by Saidur Rahman of Putikhali village under Morelganj upazila.

All the 633 poultry farms in the district have been on red alert since Tuesday. Officials of the livestock department have been directed to cull all chickens within one to three kilometres of radius of the infected farms, Dr Rustam Khan said.

Meanwhile, all poultry farms in Khulna city and the district which received chickens from Biman Poultry Farm in Savar have been kept under close observation by the Rapid Response Team. DLO of Khulna Obaidul Karim said in a news conference yesterday that he had not received any news of Bird Flu in the area till Tuesday.

Reports received from Jamalpur said district livestock officers have yet to take any measure to cull free range chickens within a kilometre radius of the infected farms in the district.

When asked, DLO Nazrul Islam said they got instructions from the head office to carry out a survey of birds and chickens within a kilometre radius of the infected farms.

"Our manpower is too limited. We need two more days to complete the survey," he said. After completion of the survey, they will take necessary measures in line with the directions their central office in Dhaka gave them, he added. He however said all the farms around the infected ones are under watch.

Our correspondent from Gazipur reported that district livestock officials so far carried out surveillance in 434 farms where the number of chickens is 7,20,024. The surveillance team found 25 dead chickens so far.

Bangladesh Poultry Industries Association conducted a workshop on Avian Influenza there.

Meanwhile, prices of eggs and chickens are showing signs of normalisation there, the report said adding that the price of a hundred eggs was Tk 340 and a broiler chicken was Tk 75 per kilogram there yesterday.

Our Tangail correspondent reported that the livestock department of the district kept the poultry farms in 12 upazilas there under close supervision after detection of Bird Flu Virus in a farm under Bhuapur upazila on Tuesday.

Medical teams led by livestock officials are visiting poultry farms of the district and examining the fowls. But they could not find any more Bird Flu affected poultry farm till filing of this report at 6:30pm.

DLO of Tangail Dr Abdur Rashid told The Daily Star yesterday that they already opened control rooms in upazilas and in the district headquarters to prevent an epidemic.

"We have taken measures to prevent spread of the virus," he said.

According to the district livestock department, there are 2,476 poultry farms in 12 upazilas of the district and there is also a poultry hatchery under Ghatail upazila.

Dr Akhil Chandra, upazila livestock officer in Bhuapur, told The Daily Star yesterday that they have kept the Bird Flu affected poultry farms in Routbari village quarantined. "We have taken necessary measures and held motivational programmes among the poultry farm owners in the upazila," he said.

On information, about 2,000 fowls and over 4,000 eggs were buried in presence of representatives from the upazila administration and livestock officials in Routbari village on Tuesday night after Bird Flu Virus had been detected there.

Our Narayanganj correspondent reported that about 600 chickens of a poultry farm in Malivita village under Bandar upazila were culled yesterday after being confirmed of Avian Flu infection.

Meanwhile, Bangladesh Veterinary Association submitted to the government a six-point charter of preventive measures for consideration including implementation of strict quarantine in affected areas, launching of a massive awareness campaign to ameliorate panic among the people, and providing protective gear to field level workers who are handling poultry. It also sought steps from the government instructing poultry farm owners to use disposable trays for carrying eggs instead of reusable plastic trays.